Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Obituary Observations

I'm lucky... I have never lost somebody. However, when my friend lost his brother two years ago, I would have to say that 10% of his brain was allowed to focus on the death itself, while the other 90% of him was forced to focus on the Universal question "how am I going to afford this"? Bottom line - he had to cut corners on his brothers funeral.

I am going to start with the Obituary, because I stumbled across something that some of you may find interesting. There are online Obituary sites everywhere - they are all over the internet. There is a catch though - in order to post an Obituary online, you must pay a high fee to put it in a newspaper first. I thought about this and wondered why, and my conclusion is that this is the only way to get people to post Obituaries in the paper anymore - with todays technology, the only time any of us even go to the store to pick up a newspaper is if someone we know is in it, something phenomenal happens, OR if someone we know died and is in it. Even THEN, we always turn to the Internet first to find that piece of news that we desire.

My friends parents ended up writing his brothers Obituary. The initial Obituary was beautiful, and I know that the time they put into it and the end result helped them in a way that only someone who has lost their son can understand. The Obituary they ended up posting in the end was a total of five lines. Their initial Obituary was never seen or viewed. I am ashamed to say that when I saw the newspaper print, my first thought was "cheap". I later found out that their cheap Obituary cost them almost $425.00. Their original quote was almost a thousand dollars. As a result, they were forced to leave out details about loved ones, what my friends brother did during his 22 years, and how many people he had touched during his short life. One word - heartbreaking.

I am sure there are thousands out there who have experienced the same thing, and I know for a fact that one other person in this world has.

You can find her story on her website. The devastation of her moms death and the inability to afford an Obituary led her to create a site where everyone can. The site was created to honor her mom, and you can read her story yourself. The site is called

Obituaries on this site cost $30.00, and they stay up for a year, not a day. Users get unlimited words and four pictures, and guess what? You can't upgrade your Obituary on this site. No price increase, nobody gets guilted into buying a "better" Obituary, and most of all, they send a link to your Obituary to your email, so that you can fan it out to everyone. You can add it on Facebook, twitter and other sites. It also includes a guest book where people can comment. Not bad for $30.00. Oh, and the site does exactly what the newspapers do - they confirm the death before allowing the Obituary to be posted to ensure Quality Assurance.

It absolutely infuriates me that this service was not out there for my friend when his parents needed it. encourages people to post Obituaries even years after someones death, to find healing and closure in that aspect of the death, if they need it. The owner of the site finally got to post her moms Obituary two years after the death - the Obituary that she wanted. Some of us may find that crazy, but death is an individual thing and healing comes in all sorts of ways. We can't judge it.

So, if you know someone who has lost someone close to them and is struggling with funeral expenses, know that it is not a cheap thing and that every penny counts. Maybe you can tell them about this site, and I guarantee you that they will thank you. They can save money and get the Obituary they want. Or, they can use the money that they had budgeted for a $1000.00 Obituary, post a $30.00 Obituary, then spend the other $970.00 on a different funeral expense, such as more flowers, a nicer urn/casket... you get the point.

Let me know your thoughts and experiences on this... I will continue to blog on more ways to save money with funeral expenses. Somebody has to stop this... these people are our loved ones and they deserve to be honored how we want to and not base it on what we can afford.

I feel so strongly about, because I have watched people very close to me suffer with this very issue.